Untouched by the hustle and bustle of urban India, Coorg, one of the most impressive tourist destinations, attracts you by its scenic beauty and agreeable climate. The natural splendor of the district is so unique and enchanting that you will truly find it difficult to escape from it. The beautiful coffee plantations, rice fields and lush green hills makes for a delightful sight. Just like its diverse beauty, the spectacular history of the region narrates bold and fascinating truths of its past. Although not much is known about the early history of Coorg, the later periods tell us the story of brave rulers and their powerful dominance over the land. From the Gangas, Cholas, Hoysalas to the Vijayanagara Kingdom, the district has been the home to many illustrious South Indian dynasties. It was during British rule, that Coorg got its colonial outlook. To know interesting facts on Coorg's history, explore the sections below.
Records about Coorg are available only from 9th century CE onwards. All the information prior to this period is considered as legendary narrations with no concrete evidence to hold the speculations. As per records, Coorg was ruled for centuries by several South Indian dynasties like the Kadambas, Gangas, Chalukyas, Cholas, Rastrakutas, Hoyasalas, Vijayanagara Kingdom and the native Haleri dynasty. Authentic records of the district tell us that the Gangas under the assistance of Changalvas and the kings of Nanjarayapatna ruled the district. After the decline of the Ganga's in 11th century, the Cholas started ruling Coorg with the help of the Changalvas. However, clashes within the Chola kingdom forced them to leave the region. With this, the powerful Hoyasalas of Belur in Hassan district tried to establish their power, but the Changalvas did not accept their rule easily. In the year 1174 AD, Bettarasa, the army general of Hoysala king Ballala II, fought against the Changalva king Pemma Veerappa and established Hoysala rule in Coorg. After the decline of Hoysala kingdom, the land was passed onto the hands of very powerful Vijayanagar Empire. With time, Muslim Deccan Sultanates broke down the power of Vijayanagar Empire, and the region came under the reign of Mysore Rajas.
Although Coorg was under the control of Mysore kings, the district was not clubbed with the Kingdom of Mysore. The region came under the control of the Haleri rulers who ruled the region from 1600 CE to 1834 CE. However, a dispute within the ruling family over the succession saw the intervention of Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore, who was in favor of Lingaraja becoming king. As a mark of friendship, Lingaraja offered certain territories to Hyder Ali. After the death of Lingaraja, Hyder Ali locked his minor sons in the Mysore fort. This act displeased the people of Coorg and they revolted. As a result, the people of Coorg had to suffer a lot under the hands of Tipu Sultan, the son of Hyder Ali. However, with the help of the British, Tipu was removed from the region and successors of Haleri kingdom succeed the throne of Coorg. The rule of the Haleri's ended in 1834 CE with the British capturing the tyrant ruler Viraraja and deposing him.
Coorg witnessed peace and prosperity with British rule. The coffee plantations in the land of Coorg were introduced by the British to enhance the beauty of the place. Even today, the district is flooded with coffee estates and acts as a major attraction for tourist. It was during this British rule that the natives of Coorg were encouraged to join British Indian Army, and the legacy continues even today as most of the brave soldiers of Karnataka are from this wonderland.
After India's Independence in 1947 CE, Coorg was declared as an independent state in 1950. However, when the state reorganization took place in 1956, it was merged with Karnataka and became a district of the state with three taluks, namely Madikeri, Somvarpet and Virajpet. Madikeri is the administrative headquarters of the district.